You've probably ordered up at the Mexican-inspired fast food joint known as Taco Bell, but do you know how it all got started? Glen Bell, inspired by friends and neighbors, created his own version of the crunchy taco in 1951. Eleven years later, Bell opened his first Taco Bell restaurant in Downey, CA.
As of November 2022, there are over 7,500 Taco Bell stores in the U.S.—meaning, if you're driving near or far, you're bound to pass by one of these bad boys. So, the next time you stop by Taco Bell for breakfast, be prepared with what you want to order. Below are the best and worst options from the entire breakfast menu, ranked from least to most healthy, to help you choose wisely the next time you visit Taco Bell.
Cinnabon Delights® 12 pack
Per order: 930 calories, 53 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 480 mg sodium, 104 carbs (3 g fiber, 59 g sugar), 9 g protein
The worst thing you can order up for breakfast is this 12-pack of donut holes filled with icing. This is way too many calories for one person, and the amount of sugar is close to 15 teaspoons of granulated sugar! If you do choose this option, it is meant to be shared by numerous people.
Breakfast Crunchwrap Sausage
Per order: 730 Calories, 47 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 1290 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (4 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 20 g protein
This calorie-heavy option has hash browns, eggs, a sausage patty, cheddar cheese, and creamy jalapeño sauce wrapped inside a grilled flour tortilla. The carbs are equivalent to eating close to 3.5 slices of bread and the fried potatoes and processed meat just make it less healthy compared to roasted potatoes and a leaner piece of meat.
Breakfast Crunchwrap Bacon
Per order: 670 Calories, 40 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 1300 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (4 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 21 g protein
In this menu option, you'll find bacon, egg, cheese, hash browns, and creamy jalapeño sauce rolled into a flour tortilla and grilled to make it crunchy. The calories are really high, especially if you're on a 1,600 or 1,800-calorie diet. The sodium is equivalent to over 1/2 teaspoon of salt, which is about 56% of the daily recommended max.
Breakfast Quesadilla Sausage
Per order: 510 Calories, 29 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 1130 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 23 g protein
This option consists of a flour tortilla filled with eggs, sausage and melted three-cheese blend. Calorie-wise it can fit into a healthy eating plan, but the saturated fat and sodium are quite high providing 68% and 49% of the daily recommended max, respectively. The processed sausage really adds to those unnecessary amounts of saturated fat and sodium— and you'd really be better off with a different option.
Breakfast Quesadilla Steak
Per order: 510 Calories, 25 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 1310 mg sodium, 41 g carbs (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 28 g protein
This morning meal is made with a flour tortilla filled with eggs, marinated grilled steak, and a melted three-cheese blend. As many of the other options, the artery clogging saturated fat and sodium are high for one meal. To cut back on both, ask for a lighter portion of cheese (which is also doable on their website and app).
Breakfast Quesadilla Bacon
Per order: 510 Calories, 27 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 1250 mg sodium, 41 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 25 g protein
This quesadilla contains eggs, bacon, and a three-cheese blend in a flour tortilla. As expected, the saturated fat and sodium are higher than needed in one meal, providing 64% and 54% of your daily recommended amount, respectively.
Grande Toasted Breakfast Burrito Sausage
Per order: 570 Calories, 31 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 1190 mg sodium, 51 g carbs (4 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 21 g protein
This burrito has egg, sausage crumbles, a three-cheese blend, potatoes, and tomatoes. Calories are within reasonable breakfast limits, but that saturated fat is 55% of the daily recommended amount (and remember, you need to eat lunch and dinner, too). Do ask for lighter cheese to cut back slightly on the calories and saturated fat.
Grande Toasted Breakfast Burrito Bacon
Per order: 570 Calories, 30 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 1310 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (4 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 23 g protein
This burrito contains egg, bacon, potatoes, a three-cheese blend, and egg. It does provide 50% of your daily recommended maximum of saturated fat, which makes it not the best way to start your day.
Grande Toasted Breakfast Burrito Steak
Per order: 570 Calories, 28 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 1,370 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (4 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 27 g protein
This larger sized burrito has steak, eggs, a three-cheese blend, potatoes, and tomatoes. Calories are doable if you watch what you choose to eat for the rest of the day. The saturated fat content is high at 45% of the recommended daily max, and the sodium amount is 62% of your daily recommended max. If you're watching your heart health, ask for lighter amounts of cheese or potatoes (which are both doable when ordering online, too).
Cheesy Toasted Breakfast Burrito Sausage
Per order: 350 Calories, 17 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 770 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 10 g protein
This breakfast burrito has eggs, sausage crumbles, and nacho cheese sauce. The calories can fit within a healthy eating plan, but the processed sausage and cheese sauce aren't the highest-quality ingredients.
Cheesy Toasted Breakfast Burrito Bacon
Per order: 350 Calories, 16g fat (5 g saturated fat), 880 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 13 g protein
This burrito includes bacon, egg, and nacho cheese sauce. The calories are reasonable for breakfast but a better-quality source of cheese for breakfast would be healthier. Sodium is still high for breakfast at 38% of your recommended daily amount.
Cheesy Toasted Breakfast Burrito Potato
Per order: 340 Calories, 14 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 770 mg sodium, 44 carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 9 g protein
This burrito includes egg, potato, tomato, and nacho cheese sauce. Both potatoes and tomatoes contribute to the daily recommended dose of vegetables. Calories and saturated fat are rather reasonable for this option, but Taco Bell does give you the option to swap it for real shredded cheese for an additional $0.65.
Cinnabon Delights® 2 pack
Per order: 160 Calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 80 mg sodium, 17 carbs (0 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 2 g protein
The only reason these donut holes get a top spot on this list is because they are portion controlled. If you're going to munch on sweets, this isn't a terrible option to choose.
Per order: 160 Calories, 11 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 14 carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1 g protein
It's sad that fried hash browns get the top spot on this list, which says a lot about the healthy options (or not-so-healthy options) on Taco Bell's breakfast menu.
As you can see, Taco Bell doesn't have many nutrient-dense, healthier options on their breakfast menu. This doesn't mean you have to avoid Taco Bell altogether. In fact, it's important to treat yourself to the foods you love from time to time. But now that you have more information on the nutrition information for each menu item, you can go in to your next Taco Bell breakfast feeling more prepared.